For more than a century, Ripley’s Believe It or Not!® has been known for celebrating life’s weirdest and most wonderful attractions. American Robert Ripley began drawing cartoons of great sporting feats in 1918. These funny sketches were soon syndicated throughout publications across the United States and the popularity continued with books, movies, and competitions open to the public.
In 1933 Ripley opened his first Odditorium in Chicago, at the World’s Fair, the precursor to the modern World Expo. Now, just in time for Dubai’s Expo 2020, Ripley’s has opened its 31st Odditorium, at Global Village.
It’s the first ever Ripley’s venue in the Middle East, out of more than 100 attractions, and Victor Danau, Director of Asia Pacific Operations & Development at Ripley’s Entertainment, says Global Village is perfectly suited to it.
“It’s about amazing people doing amazing things, and also amazing things from all around the world, so Global Village was sort of a natural fit.”
“It’s such a thriving location,” says Danau. “Global Village is all about welcoming diversity,” he says. “Robert Ripley was all about that as well so we’re excited to play to such a diverse and authentic audience.”
What to expect
The highlights of the new Ripley’s Dubai include six separate museum galleries: Robert Ripley’s Tribal Jungle, Human Oddities, Ripley’s Warehouse, Ripley’s American & Arabian, Magical Studio, and WOW Space Gallery.
The six museums feature exhibits and interactive experiences for anyone who wants to see the extraordinary. Ripley’s curators work to carefully strike a balance between things that are odd, strange, shocking and beautiful. Danau says, “Whether you’re five or 95, you’re going to find something that’s going to blow you away.”
Marvelous Mirror Maze
The Marvelous Mirror Maze is one of only 11 in the world, and promises a mind-bending experience wandering through a labyrinth of more than 100 mirrors with light and sound displays to create fantastic illusions that will set the scene for some amazing selfies! Photos are allowed throughout the attraction, by the way, so you don’t need to miss out on any quirky photo opportunities.
The world's only roadworthy fully wooden-built Ferrari
For motoring enthusiasts, discover the world’s only fully wooden, roadworthy Ferrari that operates on ground as well as on water. You can also see the smallest assembly-line manufactured road-legal car ever made.
Giant prehistoric shark jaw
From the natural world, witness a feast your eyes on a prehistoric Megalodon shark jaw. The ‘Big Tooth’ shark is now extinct but was the largest shark ever. You can see how ferocious its bite was, measuring 3 metres in diameter.
There are more than 150 exhibits and hands-on experiences, including those from the world of science; rare artefacts; wax figures; incredible art; animal oddities; pop-culture memorabilia; special effects; and stories of people and places that may be hard to believe, but are definitely true. Global Village visitors will also get to indulge in interactive games and a Vortex Tunnel so mind-bending you have to experience it to believe it!
Fancy a souvenir?
For those who don’t want the experience to end, there’s Ripley’s retail shop filled with curious mementos. All merchandise is inspired by the museum exhibits so you can take home a souvenir of your time at Ripley’s.
Ripley’s Believe It or Not is celebrating its first season (of at least three) at Global Village from 29th October 2019 to 4th April 2020.
• You can visit any time from Saturday to Wednesday 4:00pm until midnight; or on Thursdays, Fridays and public holidays from 4:00pm until 1:00am. Mondays are only for women and families.
• Make sure to allow at least one hour to explore Ripley’s Believe It or Not. The Marvelous Mirror Maze will take between 15-30 minutes (unless you get truly lost, but don’t worry, search parties are sent out once an hour).
• The best time to visit the Ripley’s attraction is as soon as the Global Village opens, around 4:00pm before most visitors arrive.
Spend the rest of the day@Global Village
If you’re making a day of it at Global Village you can also visit a selection of the 26 magnificent country-specific pavilions, filled with culinary delights, food, textiles, and other products. If you are hungry, there are 23 restaurants and cafes serving authentic international cuisine. There’s plenty of live entertainment too from child-friendly Kids Theatre Shows and Circus Circus to street entertainment and the hair-raising Stunt Show Survivor. Then there’s the Carnaval funfair for young and old featuring 31 rides and 25 games of skill.